Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Tweeted Daily By 92nd Street Y

You’ve no doubt heard of Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach’s The Well-Tem­pered Clavier. What’s more, you’ve no doubt heard it, even if you could swear you haven’t. (Need a refresh­er? Lis­ten to Glenn Gould’s per­for­mance of it here.) If you’d like to gain much more famil­iar­i­ty with this deeply respect­ed piece of music, but in small pieces of it at a time, keep an ear on The Well-Tweet­ed Clavier, going on now from the 92nd Street Y in NYC. Known to pull a cul­tur­al stunt every now and again, 92Y has a plan to tweet about a pre­lude and fugue of The Well-Tem­pered Clavier each and every day. They launched this project on Sep­tem­ber 14, and it should run for a total of 48 days. You can see these tweets by fol­low­ing 92Y on Twit­ter, or sim­ply by check­ing the hash­tag #WTClavier. “The Well-Tem­pered Clavier can be played on any key­board,” 92Y Tweet­ed on Octo­ber 3. “Truth in adver­tis­ing?’ That day, they post­ed three videos asso­ci­at­ed with Pre­lude and Fugue No. 20 in A minor, BWV 865: a two-part per­for­mance and a short talk from pianist and con­duc­tor András Schiff.

At the end of this month, Schiff, famous­ly a boost­er of Bach’s work, opens the New York com­po­nent of his pro­gram The Bach Project, an effort that will, all told, include the San Fran­cis­co Sym­pho­ny, Los Ange­les Phil­har­mon­ic, New York Phil­har­mon­ic, 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall and Great Per­form­ers at Lin­coln Cen­ter. “To me, Bach’s music is not black and white; it’s full of colours,” Schiff writes in his essay “With­out the Ped­al But With Plen­ty of Col­ors.” “In my imag­i­na­tion, each tonal­i­ty cor­re­sponds to a colour. The Well-Tem­pered Clavier, with its 24 pre­ludes and fugues in all the major and minor keys, pro­vides an ide­al oppor­tu­ni­ty for this fan­ci­ful fan­ta­sy.” You can explore these col­ors on 92Y’s main Well-Tweet­ed Clavier page, which actu­al­ly col­or-codes all the pre­ludes and fugues thus far tweet­ed so you can expe­ri­ence them as chro­mat­i­cal­ly as Schiff does. “Of course, this is a very per­son­al inter­pre­ta­tion, and each of you may have a dif­fer­ent opin­ion,” he adds. “Nev­er­the­less, if some of us hap­pen to believe that music is more than just a series of notes and sounds, then a lit­tle bit of fan­ta­sy is wel­come.”

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Open Gold­berg Vari­a­tions: J.S. Bach’s Mas­ter­piece Free to Down­load

A Big Bach Down­load: The Com­plete Organ Works for Free

How a Bach Canon Works. Bril­liant.

A Young Glenn Gould Plays Bach

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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